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Tips & Tricks August 2017

Here you will find interesting items on a multitude of topics. A new entry will be posted weekly, if there is a topic you're interested in, please use the contact us form to let us know.
What to Do if Your Laptop Is Plugged In But Not Charging
Written by: Brian Westover (PCMag)
When you plug in your laptop, you usually find yourself greeted with a cheerful chirp from your PC, a new glowing LED indicator light, and a display that perks up and beams a bit more brightly.

At least that's what it's supposed to do. Sometimes, though, you connect the AC adapter-usually because the battery is nearly drained-and you get nothing. No glowing lights. No brightened display. And no battery charging. What went wrong? Why won't it work, and what is to be done about it?

It may seem simple enough to recharge a laptop. You plug it in, it works; easy, right? Well, not necessarily. Between the wall outlet and your battery are several steps and parts that can all fail. Some are easy to fix yourself with a software tweak or a new battery, but some problems may require a visit to a repair shop or even a full-blown system replacement. Knowing which is which can save you hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars in repairs. By taking an inside-out approach, you can quickly narrow down where the problem originates and find the most economical solution.

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Find and Use the Windows 10 Firewall
Written by: Joli Ballew (Lifewire)
All Windows computers include features that protect the operating system from hackers, viruses, and various types of malware. There are also protections in place to prevent mishaps that are brought on by the users themselves, such as the unintentional installation of unwanted software or changes to crucial system settings. Most of these features have existed in some form for years. One of them, Windows Firewall, has always been a part of Windows and was included with XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and more recently, Windows 10.

It's enabled by default. Its job is to protect the computer, your data, and even your identity, and runs in the background all the time.

But what exactly is a firewall and why is it necessary? To understand this, consider a real-world example. In the physical realm, a firewall is a wall designed specifically to stop or prevent the spread of existing or approaching flames. When a threatening fire reaches the firewall, the wall maintains its ground and protects what's behind it.

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Finding out if your password has been hacked just got way easier
Written by: James Laird (Trusted Reviews)
Is my password safe? Our guide explains how to check your password strength and protect yourself against the latest hacks.

Scarcely a day goes by without some kind of online security brouhaha hitting the headlines. Our digital selves are more vulnerable than ever in 2017, yet we're often our own worst enemy - especially when it comes to the strength of our passwords.

One study, by password manager Keeper, shows that many of us are still using rudimentary phrases to safeguard our accounts, with nearly 17% of people still relying on the infamous '123456' - equivalent to wearing Swiss cheese as a condom.

A handful of seemingly more complex combos appear on the list, but Keeper notes that these too are vulnerable, as they're based on predictable keystroke patterns.

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10+ Useful System Tools Hidden in Windows
Written by: Chris Hoffman (How-To-Geek)
Windows contains a variety of system utilities that are useful, but well-hidden. Some are buried deep in the Start menu, while others you can access only if you know the right command to run.

You can launch most of these tools pretty easily if you know their names-just search your start menu for the name of the tool, and you're good to go. On Windows 8, you may have to select the Settings category on the search screen to have the actual tool show up in the search results. Regardless of how you launch them, these tools can help you do everything from diagnose crashes to examine system performance to improve security.

Windows includes a Memory Diagnostic tool that restarts your computer (so nothing is loaded into memory) and tests your memory for defects-much like the popular MemTest86 application. If you want to check your computer's memory for errors, you don't need a third-party tool-just run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool by searching for it on your Start menu.

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April 2017 entries can be found here.
May 2017 entries can be found here.
June 2017 entries can be found here.
July 2017 entries can be found here.
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